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Trek to Majestic Jog falls

It was just another lazy Tuesday morning. Being supremely unoccupied as I was, I decided to browse through Facebook hoping to stumble across something interesting. In a matter of minutes I was out on my cycle flying towards the bank. You may ask what prompted this enormous change in my otherwise idle routine and I would be obliged to tell you what I came across was the remarkable Bangalore Trekking Club! I signed up and waited patiently for the list to be announced for the ‘Boys and ‘Girls’ trek to Jog falls’. The organizers in particular were very prompt, helpful and available through the entire registration process. When the list was finally out, with trepidation and tremendous excitement I got busy packing and running around for the ‘things required’, a task that was made miles easier by Ajita Madan’s meticulously prepared list.

Happy Faces who successfully made it at JOGGGGGG...
And so it happened that I found myself at the assembly point being extended a warm welcome by the gathered people. Brisk introductions were made, although I must confess I forgot the names within the blink of an eye. A game of Dumb Charades, strategically planned by the organizers, is all it took to break the ice and very soon everyone was at ease with each other. It was a good mix of people from different parts of the country and also people with different interests and hobbies. Some liked math, some loved beer while others found joy in singing and this crowd was complemented the dance enthusiasts. After a brief stop at a hotel which further gave us time to interact and feel comfortable with one another we proceeded to our destination, Sagara. Approximately 400 kilometers from Bangalore, located in the heavenly Western Ghats it is known for its proximity to the Jog falls. Cycling enthusiasts often choose to cycle from Sagara to Jog Falls spoiling themselves with the beauty of the lush green forests of Western Ghats. We finally arrived after a grueling journey of 8 hours, particularly since our driver seemed to be on the revenge mode for reasons only he knew. Our guide, Ganapati sir gave us a warm welcome and guided us to the camping site. He was very thoughtful in arranging piping hot coffee, warm water and seemingly unlimited supply of idlys, poha and authentic homemade malnad chutney to savor the idlys with. After this sumptuous meal we were briefed about the day’s events. If I have not already mentioned the whacky malnad weather, let me tell you that it followed what seemed to be a peculiar pattern with 10 minutes of heavy rain, 5 minutes of clear skies, 10 minutes of sunlight and back to the rain.

Nevertheless, armed with this group of newfound friends, we started off our day. The first event was a bout of swimming in the clean and clear Sharavathi back waters. As my friend Kamlesh pointed out, ‘When it rains while you are swimming, you tend to mistake the water droplets as pearls’. For someone who doesn’t know swimming my only confidence came from my lifejacket and our helpful guide. After a small photo session and a lot of ‘GoPro’ sessions we headed back to our camping site thoroughly famished.
Survivors :D
After lunch and an hour of lazing around, we were all set for our next scheduled event, a mini trek. If you ask me, I would not even have dreamed about trekking through dense forests under continuous rain with the never ceasing, ever increasing hubbub of crickets and other insects. While the others found this bug kingdom extremely amusing and fascinating, I beg to differ; I was scared out of my mind, well, initially at least. This trek like I said was something so far out of my comfort zone I couldn’t even see its boundaries! But that’s what treks are for! To go beyond yourself and explore. I was truly thrilled and awed by the never ending course of obstacles on a path that we created for ourselves amidst the lush greenery of the Malnad forests. And finally after a 2 hour trek we conquered Mount KumariGudda. KumariGudda is as stated by our guide the highest peak in a radius of 10 kilometers. Also, it is very unique because it supplies water to the two main seas of our country. The rain that lands on the western side of the mountain finds its way to the Arabian Sea whereas, the rain that lands on the eastern side of the mountain goes on to join the Bay of Bengal. After a small photo session we were to head back to our base camp. I dreaded the prospect of traversing through the dense forests once again. But our guide told us about another path which would take us less than half hour to reach human civilizations. I stared at him blankly unable to fathom what he just said. What about all the risking my life with the insects when there was a much easier path? So we arrived at our base camp immediately queuing up outside the bathrooms for a quick shower. Meanwhile, we were treated to delicious pakodi and hot beverages. For dessert we were treated to the most delicious ‘payasam’ that my palate has ever had the opportunity to be exposed to. It was only fair to have 3-4 cups. Exhausted but still excited from the days happenings we pitched our tents and signed off for the day.

 We woke up to never ending rain on day two. Day two had only one event, a 15km trek to Jog falls! We thanked our cooks for the brilliant food and Ganpati sir for his VIP hospitality and bid adieu to our base camp. One hour later we found ourselves 35 kilometers from our base camp, the starting point of Jog falls trek. Our main guide today was Babuanna who was to lead the trek. Initially this trek looked relatively simple compared to the previous days trek, no dense forests, no thorns, no rocks, no slippery streams and of course, no insects. After about 1 kilometer we stopped at a house and staring at our faces was an even denser forest. I was still feeling positive about the day until Ganapati sir took out a bottle of anti leech medicine and asked us to apply it over our legs and arms. So now there was denser forest, thicker thorns, bigger rocks, wider streams,more insects and last but definitely not the least, an army of leeches. Armed with slimy leech medicine on our legs and anti leech salt in our hands we began our trek to the Jog falls. The previous day trek helped us give an insight into the day 2 trek. We were able to tackle obstacles in a relatively experienced way. The trek on day 2 was also the most beautiful treks I have been on. We trekked through farms, plantations, forests undeterred, rather amused by the continuous downpour. We created our own trails where the regular paths failed us, crossed streams using makeshift bridges, jumped across when we couldn’t find them, crawled at places where we couldn’t stand and found ourselves gorging on the occasional biscuit and gulping down gallons of water to stay hydrated and also posing for the occasional picture .

After about 3 hours of trekking we stopped for lunch and the rain seemed to not give up at all. We were no less; we had our lunch in the rain, in the end using the rain water to wash our plates too. After a brief break we continued on our trek to the destination. And after 3 more hours of trekking, some unbelievably beautiful views and of course some leech bites we finally made it to the entrance of the majestic Jog falls, no not so soon. We made it to the parking lot actually.We huddled ourselves in three cars and went up to the entrance to find ourselves disappointed by the thick clouds blocking our view. Although, within no time as if someone heard us pray, the clouds cleared and the crowd roared to the enthralling view of the Jog Falls. The purpose of the trek was served.  After reaching our destination, I realized that the destination was not what was important; it was the journey, the experience. The destination was merely a cherry on the delicious cake.

With that I conclude my beautiful experience which I have tried my best to put into words. But trust me, it can’t be described, it can only be experienced.

Most importantly I would like to thank our organizers, Srikanth Peddi and Ajita Madan for making this a lifetime of an experience and also particularly Srikanth for sitting through the journey next to the driver not allowing the poor guy to sleep in peace.

Written By          : Yashasvi Sai
Organized By      : Srikanth Peddi & Ajita Madan
Members Count  : 20
Date of event     : 18th & 19 Jul, 2015
Place                  : Jog Falls, Shimoga 
Pictures              : BTC album

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